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DynamoDB Backups

Last week at AWS re:Invent, Amazon announced support for DynamoDB backup and restore. We’re already finishing the final touches on our support for creating DynamoDB backups.

During development, we came across some caveats about the new DynamoDB backup feature that we’d like to share. Here are our observations.

DynamoDB does not support backups in all regions

According to the DynamoDB Backup and Restore page, backups are only supported in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland). The remaining regions will be rolled out later.

So make sure your DynamoDB tables are in support regions before trying to create backups.

DynamoDB backups are not supported on existing tables

Any new table created after last week’s announcement can create backups. However, support on previously existing tables is being rolled out over the following weeks. According to AWS support:

As the backup and restore is a new feature, currently native backup and restore feature of DynamoDB only supports new tables ( i.e. tables which are created after the announcement). Existing tables will be having this option enabled in the coming weeks.

So if you see the following message in the AWS Management Console:

Backup is being enabled for the table. Please revisit this page sometime later.

you’ll know why.

DynamoDB backups do not support tags

DynamoDB backups don’t support tags yet. Tag support is inevitable, but it’s not present yet. This means you cannot categorize or apply cost allocation tags to your backups yet.

DynamoDB backups cannot be copied

Region-to-region copying of backups has become a norm. Still, support for copying DynamoDB backups to secondary regions for disaster recovery is not available. So the table data is still stuck in a single region. AWS has indicated that copy support is coming.

Final thoughts

DynamoDB backups are finally here. We’ve been asked many times since DynamoDB was initially released to add backup support. However, despite the announcement last week, full support is still being rolled out. Hopefully, we’ll see backups fully supported early in the new year.

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